Don’t toil, take it to Jesus!

Have you toiled all night and caught nothing?

Have there been times in your life – maybe even now – where you have tried everything you know to solve a problem you face? It may be a financial problem, maybe a problem at work or school, maybe a problem in the family?

Situations like this can rob us of our joy and leave us feeling despondent and empty.

In Luke chapter 5, the Apostle Peter was in just such a situation. He ran a small fishing business with his two friends on the shores of Galilee in northern Israel. Although we are not specifically told, we get the impression that times were hard. Peter, James and John had been out on the Sea of Galilee in their two boats all night, desperately trying to catch fish so they could eat and pay their bills. But that had caught nothing but the cold night air.

Then, in the morning, Jesus comes to them, asks to use one of their boats as a makeshift pulpit to be able to teach the multitude of people who had gathered along the shoreline.

When the teaching was over and the crowds had begun to disperse, Jesus suggests to Peter that they go out onto the water to catch some fish. Peter was tired. Fishing was his profession. As ‘kind’ as Jesus’ suggestion was, Peter was pretty sure it would be a complete waste of his time. Nevertheless, he agrees.

A little way from shore and they cast in their nets – nets that Peter and his friends had just spent an hour or two cleaning, and here they were, about to get them dirty all over again!

Does that sound familiar? You think things are as bad as they can get, then they get worse!

But no sooner than the nets had been deployed, Peter felt that familiar tug – the tug of fish in the nets!

As Peter tries to haul the catch aboard the boat, he soon realises that there are just too many for him to manage on his own, so calls out to James and John in the other boat. Amazed, astounded, overwhelmed! It’s hard to articulate the emotion of that moment. The joy, the relief, the excitement… then it hits Peter! He falls down at Jesus’ knees and begs forgiveness. Forgiveness for the thoughts he had had when Jesus first suggested going back out on the water – to the natural mind a pointless and time-wasting exercise… but here they were, two boats overflowing with fish!  Why had he doubted Jesus?

And there is the question for all of us…

Why do we doubt Jesus?

All that toil and hardship, only for it all to change in a moment because of Jesus.

Jesus said that we should “Take no thought for your life.” “Be careful about one thing only,” says our Lord—“your relationship to Me.”

But our common sense shouts loud and says—“That is absurd, I must consider how I am going to live, I must consider what I am going to eat and drink.”

Jesus says you must not. Beware of allowing the thought that this statement is made by One Who does not understand our particular circumstances. Jesus Christ knows our circumstances better than we do.

This is a lesson on trust. It is trusting when the natural mind tells us it’s absurd, ‘a pointless waste of time’. Jesus met Peter’s need at the right time. He is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Next time you are faced with a problem that seems too great, rather than toiling all night, take it to Jesus, and then wait for Him and His timing.

“When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour.” (Isa 43:2-3)

“For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” (Rom 10:11)

“And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.” (Ps 9:10)

There are few things worse than misplaced trust. But that is something a Christian will never experience in Christ. “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee…” (Heb 13:5).


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